Winter brings rosy red cheeks, fluffy white snow, and frigid cold temperatures. Many of us put on our hats, our gloves, and our big warm coats and we go about business. The winter cold does not break our stride. For others in our community it is a completely different story. They lack the warm clothing needed to survive the brutal days of winter. The brisk, subzero temperatures and winter winds are a constant struggle. Many of those who face this challenge are children. Hundreds to thousands of children in our community alone are without a warm winter coat. They walk around in a light jacket or a sweatshirt. They are cold. This week we had the opportunity to volunteer with an organization that is working to put a warm coat on all kids in need.
Volunteer Center @RSVP assists the community in solving important community needs with organized volunteer service. Volunteers are given meaningful opportunities to serve within the community while properly utilizing their skills and abilities. The Volunteer Center partners with over 80 organizations and used more than 1200 volunteers to serve the Fort Wayne community. One of the annual programs offered is the Share the Warmth-Coats for Kids program. Volunteers collect and distribute new and used winter coats to local schools and shelters. Over the last ten years more than 25,000 coats have been distributed to kids in need. An unbelievable program serving the children of Fort Wayne.
We had the opportunity to help sort, tag, and prepare coats for distribution. The stockroom of a local Kroger store was filled with the donated coats. A team of volunteers worked to get orders filled and prepared for local schools. Teachers within area schools identify children who are in need of a coat. The orders are tallied by the school and submitted to the Volunteer Center. Volunteers then work through the donations to find the appropriate sizes to fulfill the orders for each school. This year the order, or need for coats, was the largest ever. In contrast, the number of coats donated was down. Definitely a sign of the times and very disheartening. For a few hours, we did our part to help fulfill the orders. It was an eye-opening experience. Our volunteer experiences continually show us real life. We are not naive enough to think there wasn’t a need for coats. When you actually spend the time to see the orders, work through the mound of coats, and observe how many orders that were not completed due to the lack of donations, it becomes real. The need for coats for children in our area is great. We all must open our eyes to this need, step up, and help these children by sharing the warmth of a coat.